Debuting on May 14, the five-episode podcast responds to and expands upon David Hammons’s Day’s End
On May 14, 2021, the Whitney Museum of American Art will launch its first-ever podcast Artists Among Us. Consisting of five episodes, Artists Among Us is hosted by influential artist and photographer Carrie Mae Weems and features both expected and unexpected voices. Created by the Whitney with Sound Made Public, podcast episodes respond to and expand upon David Hammons’s permanent public sculpture Day’s End (2014-21). Artists Among Us not only explores the work of Hammons, but it also pays tribute to Gordon MattaClark and his visionary sculpture Day’s End (1975) and delves into the many histories and changing landscapes of the Hudson River waterfront and New York’s Meatpacking District. Along with Weems, contributing voices include Jane Crawford, Tom Finkelpearl, Bill T. Jones, Kellie Jones, Glenn Ligon, Alan Michelson, Florent Morellet, Luc Sante, Adam D. Weinberg, and others.
“Day’s End doesn’t have any one story to tell, any single history that it celebrates,” says Carrie Mae Weems, host of the podcast. “It’s an absence, a frame of a building that no longer exists. But it’s so rooted in its site at the meeting point of the city and the river that we might also see that absence as an opening—a space for the many absences and invisible histories of this place to speak.”
“Hammons’s sculpture is so simple in its outlines but so rich in its meanings and in the stories it evokes,” said Anne Byrd, director of interpretation and research at the Whitney. “It seemed like the perfect subject for the Whitney’s first podcast.”
Following the debut of the first episode on May 14, subsequent episodes will be released weekly. Artists Among Us will be available for streaming on major podcast services, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, as well as whitney.org.
To learn more about Artists Among Us and to hear the season trailer, please visit whitney.org/podcast.
Episode 1: The Dawn of Day’s End
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Our inaugural episode introduces David Hammons’s Day’s End (2014-21). As we discuss the project’s origins and site specific nature, the layered social and cultural histories of the site begin to unfold. Featured voices in Episode 1 include executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation Andrew Berman; author and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl; choreographer and artistic director of New York Live Arts Bill T. Jones; art historian and Columbia University professor Kellie Jones; artist Glenn Ligon; structural engineer Guy Nordenson; writer Luc Sante; architect and landscape architect Catherine Seavitt; and Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum Adam D. Weinberg.
Episode 2: A Cathedral of Light on the Hudson River
Release Date: May 21, 2021
How did the artist Gordon Matta-Clark transform a dilapidated shipping pier into a “cathedral of light”? In this episode, we trace the decline of Manhattan’s formerly flourishing meat markets and waterfront industries. Amid the decay, Matta-Clark spotted the potential for beauty. Featured voices in Episode 2 include director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark Jane Crawford; curator and co-director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark Jessamyn Fiore; director of Riverkeeper Paul Gallay; New York University professor of media studies Laura Harris; owner of J.T. Jobaggy Meat Company John Jobaggy, artist Alan Michelson; activist and Meatpacking District restaurateur Florent Morellet; writer and ecologist Eric Sanderson; BOMB magazine co-founder Betsy Sussler; and writer Jonathan Weinberg, among others.
Episode 3: Latex and Lard in the Meatpacking District
Release Date: May 28, 2021
A vibrant Queer community inhabited Manhattan’s Meatpacking District when Gordon MattaClark created a sculpture by carving into Pier 52 on the Hudson River. This episode recalls a golden age when sex, art, and creativity converged on the waterfront in the years prior to the AIDS crisis in New York City. Featured voices in Episode 3 include an archival recording of artist Alvin Baltrop; filmmaker Elegance Bratton; photographer Efrain Gonzalez; activist Egyptt Labeija; activist and founding member of FIERCE Stefanie Rivera; and trustee of the Alvin Baltrop Trust Randal Wilcox, among others.
Episode 4: Coastline Cultures: The Evolution of Manhattan’s Waterfront
Release Date: June 4, 2021
Anchored in the Gansevoort Peninsula and reaching out into the Hudson River, Day’s End (2014-21) was designed to be permanent. But for hundreds of years, the site has been in constant flux. In this episode, architects, environmentalists, Lenape elders, and artists inform some of the ways in which the many people connected to this place endeavor to keep it alive. Featured voices in Episode 4 include executive director of the Billion Oyster Project Pete Malinowski; ecologist Bernice Rosenzweig; ecologist and author Eric Sanderson; First Nation artist and activist George Stonefish; and co founder and co-director of the Lenape Center in New York City Curtis Zunigha, among others.
Episode 5: Making the Ghost Visible
Release Date: June 11, 2021
Is Day’s End an anti-monument for our time? In this episode, we return to the sculpture itself: how it makes meaning, how it fits into the surrounding environment, and what public art tells us about freedom and power. Featured voices in Episode 5 include Andrew Berman, Tom Finkelpearl, John Jobaggy, Kellie Jones, Glenn Ligon, Guy Nordenson, Bernice Rosenzweig, Catherine Seavitt, Adam Weinberg, and Columbia University Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Mabel O. Wilson.
About Day’s End
David Hammons’s Day’s End is located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, directly across from the Whitney Museum. The sculpture is inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 artwork of the same name in which he cut five openings into the Pier 52 shed. Hammons’s sculpture is an open structure that follows the outline, dimensions, and location of the original shed. Day’s End is designed to bring visitors down to the water’s edge and celebrate the rich history of the Hudson River waterfront. A Community Day celebrating the completion of Day’s End will take place at the Whitney Museum on Sunday, May 16, 2021 from 10:30 am to 6 pm.
About David Hammons
David Hammons (b. 1943; Springfield, IL) is one of the United States’ most provocative and influential living artists. Using symbols and stereotypes in surprising, challenging, and often humorous ways, Hammons has created a five decade body of work that equally inspires and intrigues and addresses issues of race, class, art history, the legacy of slavery, and the experience of being an outsider. Hammons moved from Illinois to Los Angeles in 1963 to study art and, incidentally, jazz, eventually graduating from Chouinard Art Institute (now known as CalArts) in 1968. During a formative time at Otis Art Institute Hammons studied with artist and activist Charles White, who is known for his dignified realist portraits of African Americans. While Hammons lived in Los Angeles the city and nation reckoned with the turmoil caused by a national heritage of racism and the growing Black Power Movement, including the assassination of Malcolm X and the Watts riots. Among Hammons’s contemporaries in Los Angeles were Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, Betye Saar, and other members of the overtly political Black Arts Movement. In the late 1960s Hammons began his series of Body Prints, which he created through the performative action of coating his body with grease and imprinting himself onto a piece of paper. He would then sprinkle powdered pigment onto the work, resulting in an intricately detailed mirroring of his body in iconic poses, and often sarcastically confronting racial stereotypes.
In 1974 Hammons relocated to New York City, where he increasingly focused his work outside the traditional realms of artmaking. Hammons equally incorporated performance, found materials, ephemerality, and public city life, particularly Black city life, into his projects. His elusive actions such as Bliz-aard Ball Sale, 1983, where he sold snowballs on a street in the East Village, were sparsely documented yet have taken on mythic proportions in ensuing years. Hammons settled in Harlem but worked throughout the city and country, creating often provocative and uncanny works that stretched across mediums and ideas, including the incendiary How Ya Like Me Now?, 1988, a public billboard featuring a blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesse Jackson, or the strangely poetic Untitled, 1992, a sculpture in the Whitney’s collection that is made out of the sweepings of barbershops in Harlem.
In 1990 PS1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) organized the career survey David Hammons: Rousing the Rubble, 1969-1990. Hammons’s work is in the collections of the AlbrightKnox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Glenstone, Potomac, MD; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Tate Britain, London. Most recently, his work was featured in the survey exhibition Five Decades at Mnuchin Gallery (2016), and in 2019 he organized a project of his own work alongside other artists at Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles. The first museum exhibition dedicated to Hammons’s pivotal early works on paper, David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968–1979, is currently on view at The Drawing Center through May 23, 2021. Hammons has continued to work as a sculptor, installation artist, performer, and provocateur, creating works, projects, exhibitions, and public monuments that question the public and personal selves, problematize the idea of America, and use the past to inform the present.
About Carrie Mae Weems
Considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists, Carrie Mae Weems has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. Determined as ever to enter the picture—both literally and metaphorically—Weems has sustained an ongoing dialogue within contemporary discourse for over thirty years. During this time, Carrie Mae Weems has developed a complex body of art employing photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video.
Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frist Center for Visual Art, Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain.
Weems has received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships, including the prestigious Prix de Roma, The National Endowment of the Arts, The Alpert, The Anonymous was a Woman, and The Tiffany Awards. In 2012, Weems was presented with one of the first U.S. Department of State’s Medals of Arts in recognition for her commitment to the State Department’s Art in Embassies program.
In 2013 Weems received the MacArthur “Genius” grant as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also received the BET Honors Visual Artist award, the Lucie Award for Fine Art photography, was one of four artists honored at the Guggenheim’s 2014 International Gala, a recipient of the ICP Spotlights Award from the International Center of Photography, The WEB Dubois Award from Harvard University, as well as Honorary Degrees from: California College of the Arts, Colgate University, Bowdoin College, the School of Visual Arts, and Syracuse University.
She is represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Tate Modern, London. Weems has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2008 and is currently Artist in Residence at the Park Avenue Armory. She lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband Jeffrey Hoone, who is executive director of Light Work.
About the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for ninety years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.